The Three Notch Museum has a very interesting history and a lot of it starts with its unusual name.
It is part of a local museum complex that is all centered on the historic train station, which is located in downtown Andalusia, Alabama.
Located in Covington County, it is operated by the Covington Historical Society, and it serves two major roles.
The first is to show the history of Covington County and the famous trail it is named after, and second is to tell the railroad history that it brings with it.
Located on Historical Central Street and the corner of Tisdale Street, it is open Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 AM until 2: 00 PM.
The depot that the museum is located in was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
The Three Notch Museum has a very interesting history that starts with its famous name.
It is located on Three Notch Road, which was built by the U.S Army engineers during the summer of 1824.
This road served as the major transportation hub for the entire area, and it was originally built to help with the military communication in the area.
Its major focus was the area between Pensacola Florida and Fort Mitchell in Alabama, near the border of Georgia.
It was a 233 mile stretch of “very rural highway”, that at the time, went through a virtual vast land of wilderness.
It was also known as Route No. 6 and was known by the locals by the horizontal notches that were cut into trees along its intended path.
Captain Daniel Burch oversaw its construction, and it was built wide enough to carry carriages, carts, and wagons.
However, it would soon prove to be outdated, and this is where the history of the Three Notch Museum begins to really take shape.
The railroad depot that it is centered around was built in the year 1899, after a very bold wager was made.
In the late 1890’s, there were several business leaders in the town of Andalusia that recognized that the Three Notch Road was outdated.
They knew that the only way they could get their town to grow, was to have a railroad travel through it.
So they got together and posted a $ 5,000.00 bounty to the first rail line to pass through there town.
This was an incredible amount of money at the time, even for railroad magnates, and they soon got their wish.
The Central of Georgia railroad completed the rail line to the town, and they collected their prize money.
They completed the track in 1899, and they immediately built a railroad depot on five acres of land that was donated.
The Depot at the Three Notch Museum
The depot that was built and is home of the Three Notch Museum, was similar to other train stations at the time.
The Central of Georgia built numerous buildings similar to it in a lot of rural areas like Andalusia, and they were all very similar.
It was a one-story building built from wood and had a gabled roof as well as board-and-batten siding.
It was made up of three different rooms.
The rooms located in the front of the building were used for the passengers as waiting rooms, and the rear building was utilized for freight.
However, to keep up with the times in these southern states, the two waiting rooms had separate entrances.
Because of the segregation laws in the southern states at the time, African Americans used the back entrance to enter the building.
Whites used the front door, and all of the windows at the time had security bars attached to them.
The agent’s office was connected to the waiting rooms and was built with a gabled bay window in it.
Once the depot was built and the railroad became active, there was a huge increase in both population as well as business for the town.
In fact, it was so successful, that the population in the town doubled in the first year.
The commerce in the area flourished as well, and it was made up of timber, lumber, the turpentine industry, as well as agricultural products.
The depot was fully operational until March of 1983, when the last train departed from it.
The Three Notch Museum was opened in the year 1987, and it is made up of this historic depot, as well as other exhibits located outside of it.
The museum has numerous artifacts that relate not only to the railroad history in the area, but local history as well.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, because it is one of the last commercial wooden buildings still standing in the area.
It contains a very large collection of photographs that tell the story of Covington County and Andalusia.
It also has a large bottle collection, military artifacts from the area, several tools, as well as an old and very historic camera and accessories.
The museum also features exhibits of the first Post Office in the area, the River Falls Post Office.
This turn of the century Post Office was typical of those built in the pioneer days, as it also has a school room located in the back of it.
The Clark Family Log Cabin is also located on the property, and this 19th century building is typical of the Folk buildings built then.
It has on display the type of cookware used during the times, a rocking chair, furniture, as well as other home related goods.
There is also a country store located on the property, which sells souvenirs that typify items sold in those days.
Folk buildings like the Clark Family Cabin were in most all cases constructed from local building materials.
They are some of the oldest buildings from that era still standing in Alabama, and they were built from the collective memories of the family.
The shapes, sizes, as well as the orientation of these buildings almost always reflect on the traditions of the owners.
They are not considered to be architecture in the formal sense, instead they are designs and construction methods used by what the builders knew and understood.
No two Folk houses are alike, and the Clark Family Log Cabin is no different.
The Three Notch Museum also has exhibits of two cabooses located on the property, as well as the Mark Gibson Miniature Railroad.
It is located in a black boxcar that is behind the depot.
This is a very interesting model train, as it is over 10 feet long and 4 feet wide, and is considered to be the number one attraction for children.
While the Three Notch Museum is not one of the bigger attractions in the state, it is considered to be one of the better of the Alabama smaller museums.
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